The self is not something that one finds, it is something one creates. -Thomas Szasz

Okay, so another busy week kept me from accomplishing my first goal. But I did accomplish my other two goals for the week! So I guess that makes me 2 for 3, but hopefully a pretty spectacular entry to make up for it.

I started my weekend off with a visit to the Chaparral Elementary School Fall Carnival out in Meridian. I have to admit, it was probably one of my more stressful days leading up to it that I had experienced in awhile. What with preparations and decisions being made for Miss America, still working on moving, and having a busier week than usual. One can only be human, right? So the timing of this appearance could not have come at a better time and I can say it definitely made it to the top of some of my all time favorite moments.

The carnival was every child’s epitome of the perfect school carnival which consisted of multiple bounce houses and obstacle courses, a BSU football player from the Fiesta Bowl in 2007, a dunk tank with their favorite teachers, music from 103.3 Kiss FM, hot dogs, and of course face painting and other booths with crafts and activities.

I was placed at a table to sign autographs where I met a 4th grade girl with long brown hair and eyes that sparkled when she smiled at me. She told me her name was Gracie and she was here with her best friend Summer; they were going to have a sleepover that night and were filled from head to toe with excitement! Shortly into my autograph signing, Gracie came over and sat in the chair next to me and asked if she could be my assistant. She would hand me my pictures to sign and take away ones that I made a spelling error on. (I know I’ve said it before, but the way kids spell their names now with all the extra e’s and i’s and silent h’s! Throws me off all the time!)

If you know me, you know I am not one to stay seated when I’m surrounded with a group of kids. The youthful side of me comes out and I want to be out playing and doing what they are doing! So Summer and Gracie introduced me to their other friend Laney and said I could be their other BFF. We walked over to where the other festivities were taking place and decided to get our faces painted. At that point our group had grown to be a giant pack walking across the black top to where the face painting was. We decided to have matching pink hearts that said BFF in the middle of them.
That night I couldn’t even wash it off! Must mean we truly are BFF’s for life! We then went over to go fishing where we took a “fishing pole” and threw it over the vast sea of fish. Unfortunately you have to have a punch card to go to the booth, of which I didn’t have. Lucky for me, my Bff’s had my back and I ended up winning sour patch ropes, one of my favorites!

Of course it wouldn’t be a typical day in the life of an elementary student if there wasn’t a little “he said/she said” drama and a boy picking on a girl. That boy ended up being a ……by the name of….. and the girl he was picking on was one twice his age, me! He had said he didn’t like me and didn’t want to meet me, which in 10-year-old code means, he was just begging for a big hug from Miss Idaho! From there his friends dared him to ask for a picture with me and my number. I told him I am so busy that I rarely have my phone on me and in return gave him an autograph and my official business card. He gladly accepted that, and later I caught him showing off to his friends behind the school dumpster about how he got Miss Idaho’s business card.

The night started to come to an end and I hadn’t stopped smiling the whole evening. The hugs didn’t stop as Laney, Summer, and Gracie told me they didn’t want to leave and said I should come to their sleepover. I myself was not ready to leave and was bummed it was time to go. Before I left, they took one of my autograph cards and signed their names on it with a little note which is now sitting on my dresser. That night, I had received an email from Lainey and her older sister Libby. It was one of the sweetest emails I received and brought one of those moments of realization as to how blessed I am to have met the people I have this year.

Saturday morning was an early wake up call as I headed out to Mountain Home for Air Force Appreciation Day. I had never been up to Mountain Home for this event, but can say it is a definite must for my calendar next year. The day was originated in the early 60’s to thank the local military and has now become a 2 day event including the largest parade in Idaho with roughly 155 entries and 10,000 people who make an appearance.

I was able to jump out of the parade halfway through and join the judges and some of the military families on a stand including Colonel Ronald Buckley, Commander of the 366th Fighter Wing, Colonel Bruce Smith and vice commander, Colonel Scott Moser, Chief Master Sergeant John Geoffrey Weimer, and Colonel James Mcclellan. The parade was unlike one I had ever been to. The whole town must have been wiped out of candy, I’m surprised the local candy store even had any candy left over to hand out in the parade. Beads and toys flew everywhere and it wasn’t long until the street looked like it could have led to Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. Then came the fun part, for the kids at least. Maybe not for someone wearing a white dress with still another 5 hours ahead of her and no change of clothes!
Mountain Home does not mess around when they bring a water fight into a parade. Huge tubes that could extend out and burst powerful and huge amounts of water. The wives and men next to me immediately started jumping up and down waving their hands back and forth shouting out “Don’t spray Miss Idaho!” as they proceeded to cover me. I couldn’t help but just laugh at what a site that must have been for those around us. We still ended up getting a little wet, but no where near as drenched as the kids below us.

After that I went on to serve barbecued beef sandwiches and corn to some of the 5,000people who are fed during that day. Of course I had to try some of the delicious corn myself after smelling how good it was. Then I headed out with my escort Ryan as he told me about his experience in the air force and what he does now. We even found out that we both had a passion for hot yoga! Later in the afternoon, I was able to perform Rhapsody in Blue and give a short speech.

As I headed out of the park, sun burnt and smelling like BBQ, I ran into a group of children who wanted pictures. As tired as I was, of course I couldn’t say no! Especially to a couple of twins strapped to a puppy backpack and leash that their mom had them on. One of the little boys just kept looking at me, smiling, and pointing as he said “princess? princess!” and then ran over to me and wrapped his little arms around my dress. The other boy ran over to me right after, only to find his leash was a bit shorter causing him to jerk back. That didn’t keep him from crawling right over to where his brother was though.
Taking a picture with them was a little more complicated than usual given the fact that I was trying not to be tangled up in the leashes with them! But it was all worth the multiple hugs they gave out and the cute little smiles covered in blue from their slushies.

The next couple of days were busy with training, an interview with the Boise State Arbiter, piano, yoga, work, Girl Scout Open Houses, looking at evening gowns for Miss America, and finding a little time to take a step back and relax with my dog Sunni. Jaylee, Tami, and Amy were so helpful in helping me come up with ideas that were unique for me and helped express who I am. I was incredibly thankful for the help of Liz Amar who helped me figure out what colors, fabric, and styles would look best on me. I am incredibly fortunate and am reminded each day how lucky I am to have such a supportive board who I have grown so close with.

I was lucky that I had a down night after the last couple of busy weeks I had. This rarely happens so when it does I try to do something to stay in touch with the Genevieve I am behind the crown and sparkly Miss Idaho sash. And what a better reminder than to have dinner with a couple of girlfriends who never fail to remind me that I will always be that goofy gal who loves to laugh and can take a step back from my busy schedule to catch up and see what’s going on in their lives. It’s the small typical things like finding out that one has a new boyfriend who she is crazy about and another is bombarded with multiple jobs, school full time, and still has the time to squeeze in dinner on a school night when she has homework overload to catch up on.

And yet you find yourself talking for hours about funny memories, how our server looked like Edward from Twilight, and it seems like nothing has changed. You miss hearing those things, but at the same time I am so fortunate to have friends who make me feel like they support me no matter what. Even if it means not seeing them for weeks, even months on end. That’s when you know you have the best friends 🙂

I felt rejuvenated and ready for another busy weekend. I went back up to Mountain Home for the Gunfighters of the 366th Wing BBQ at the Mountain Home Air Force Base. It was a blast being reunited with the friends that I had made the weekend before and get to know their families better. My escort for the evening was 1st Lieutenant Dan Anaya, who made me feel welcome and showed me around the base. He took me to see all the different air crafts and told me the history behind them. I was absolutely amazed at where all the planes had been and the hours of work that goes into them. He told me that for every hour a ThunderBird is in flight, there are 100 hours of mechanic work put into the plane. Wow!

I was asked if I would be coming back for the airshow the following couple of days. Unfortunately I was busy with appearances Saturday and had work on Sunday. Lucky for me I have such a supportive and wonderful job with people who are absolutely amazing to work with. I was able to get my shift covered and come back Sunday for more entertainment. I have never been to any type of airshow but having jumped out of and even helped in flying a plane, I absolutely love planes. I felt as giddy as a little kid as we drove back to the base and parked our car. I got out of the car and felt my insides feel like they were going to fall out as I heard the planes overhead. I could not stop smiling as we walked through with Captain Scott Thompson. There were thousands of people who came for “Gunfighter Skies 2011” and to see the Thunderbirds fly.

I met people from all over as well as saw many familiar faces again. One boy was a foreign exchange student from Brazil who was incredibly excited to be there. At one point I looked down at a little girl with the cutest sunglasses and little dress on. She pointed at me and smiled as the name “princess” left her little mouth. Her mom then told me I should be careful, she wants my job as princess! I knelt down to talk to her and let her touch my crown.
Then I heard her brother, who was just a couple years older than her, say “Guess what I want to be when I grow up?” I guessed the typical responses, policeman, fireman, pilot. He said no, no, no. Then I asked, president? He laughed and said no, a firetruck! I laughed a little as he said no that’s not it either! He then told me he wanted to be Mario, as in Mario and Luigi! His mom just smiled, as I told her she was going to have Peaches and Mario in the house!

Captain Scott Thompson showed us where we would be watching the Thunderbirds and introduced us to Carl Paul, a 98-years-old Ranger in the 82nd Airborne in World War II. He had the kindest eyes, ones that you couldn’t stop staring into as he shared his story, talked about how much he loved his beautiful wife, and how he had never been hugged by a beauty queen. And his sense of humor, you couldn’t help but to laugh and smile the whole time he talked. I felt so honored to have met him that day. I was also honored to be watching the airshow with Commanding Officer Colonel Ron Buckley and Second In Command Colonel Bruce Smith and their families and Dan had come back to join us.

The Thunderbirds brought up the suspense as they prepared the planes almost in a way of dancing. Every movement for each plane was done in sync with one another to upbeat music. As each pilot drove by, they would have their own wave. Some, a fun hand movement wave, others a funny face followed by flexing poses. Watching them in the air was unbelievable. They would fly at each other and just barely miss or do mirror images of the plane below them. They would form different shapes and fly straight into the air at the speed of a rocket at times. When it was all over I couldn’t help but let my inner child take over as I stood in line and exchanged autographs with the pilots.

I also ran into the Ryan J. Poe Foundation that day. A couple years back, I had heard a pilot named Greg Poe give an inspirational speech about how his son had been addicted to heroin and had sadly passed away because of it. But his speech was more about taking the opportunity to go out and achieve your goals and dreams by staying focused and on track. I remember him being phenomenal, and capturing every one’s heart and emotions as he spoke. I found out that Greg Poe had unexpectedly passed away a couple of months ago. It’s heartbreaking to find out about the passing of anyone, but especially when finding out about someone who was doing so much for their world and being incredibly influential. I was happy to have spoken to the rest of the foundation and hear their kind words about Greg.

I left that day, with a slight headache and yet another sunburn, but feeling overwhelmed with excitement and happiness from all the people I had met that day.

I also was able to help out at the Taft Carnival that weekend. No face paints this time, but I was able to still make new friends! As well as have to experience a situation that nobody thinks they will find themselves in when they wake up that morning. I had one of the girls that day keep coming up to me with pictures, a mask, and cute button with hearts on it that she had made me. We laughed and she introduced me to her sister and friends. At one point I looked over and she had been filming me on her phone! She was too funny as I told her she wouldn’t want a video, so we should take a picture together instead.
A few minutes later I heard these girls teasing her, and not in a playful manner. I don’t ever expect as Miss Idaho to have to play a role in being a “mean Miss Idaho”, but at the same time you don’t want to see a sweet girl being hurt. So I kindly asked the girls how they would feel if they were being made fun of, they told me they wouldn’t care which surprised me. I told them that they didn’t have to be best friends with her, but to at least treat everyone with respect because they were too pretty and too good to be treating people poorly. I went back to the girl who at this point had her head buried in her mother’s arms. I told her that when I looked into her eyes, I didn’t think she was evil. But rather, I felt happy and very loved and that she should love the way she looks and the gorgeous eyes she had. I looked up to see her mother with tears in her eyes and smiling at me.

It just goes to show, you truly never know who you are going to meet that day and the opportunity that you will have to impact their life. I hope that day I helped those girls to understand the value of treating others kindly and hopefully helped prevent future drama, because nobody wants to have that!

Goals for this week: 1. Tomorrow is the Annual Women’s Fitness Celebration Run. It will be my 14th year running with my mom and sister and I can hardly wait! This year I want to beat my time from last year by at least a minute. We’ll see how fast we’re feeling in the morning!

2. I’m finally caught up with my blog, now I won’t let myself fall behind again! Weekly posts will be a definite must starting now!

3. Finish memorizing the new chords added to my piano piece and finish the final touches to my pieces for the Sun Valley Jazz Festival. Just a couple weeks away and can hardly wait!

Much love and hugs!


Happy 90th Birthday Miss America!

I woke up early the next day to get a quick run in at Gold’s Gym followed by a tranquil session of hot yoga at Sumit’s before driving up to Sun Valley for the Idaho Grower Shippers Association 83rd annual convention. We spent what felt like forever driving around for the Dollar Mountain Lodge so we could check in and get ready for dinner that evening.
There was a reason our gps nav lady couldn’t find it, because it was not the inn we were supposed to stay at! When we did find the lodge finally, we asked one of the waitresses where we checked in. She looked at us like we must be incredibly confused because there wasn’t a place that we could check into, that was the Inn down the road. Definitely out of towners! We found out that we were staying in the Sun Valley Inn, and what a treat that was. Each night our beds were pulled down with chocolates on our pillows. The first night freaked us out a little when we walked in and music was going and the tv was on from them turning down our beds.

We made it to the dinner and were able to meet people from all over the country who worked for the Idaho Potato Commission. Many were from San Diego others from Delaware, Chicago, and various parts of Idaho. As we spoke, I found out that many had already been following my facebook and blog on a regular basis. I was tickled to hear that! We sat with Frank Muir, a few ladies from PR and advertising, and a man who’s grandparents were in the circus. That was just one of the many entertaining stories we heard from him that evening. I later found out that he played piano as well and was in a rock band growing up. He now plays for weddings and has been in the same wedding band that he played with in college for 26 years now back in Michigan. He said he has two bands. One called Free Fall where they book for $2000 a night, wear tuxedos, show up on time and play 4 sets of music and are on their best behavior all evening. The other band is the same music, same group of guys, but only $500 a night. The difference is they may or may not show up on time, they won’t wear tuxedos, but they sure do promise a good time for everybody! I told him when the day comes, I will have to give them a call because he was quite entertaining and brought tons of laughter to the table.

It was an early morning wake up call to make it to the 7:30 am breakfast meeting that day next day. The breakfast was absolutely amazing with potato quiche (and I have never been a quiche fan and absolutely loved it!) fresh fruit that was divine, and potato cinnamon rolls. All I can say about those cinnamon rolls is wow, I am so glad there were on the opposite side of the table or someone would have had to roll me out after breakfast! Frank Muir spoke about the accomplishments that the organization had over the past year and how much they grown. He talked about the new Great Potato Bowl and all the help that the Idaho Potato Commission will be serving in the community. After watching clips of what this past year has looked like, I realized just what an incredible opportunity I have been given to be working with such a strong and influential organization. I can only hope I am able to sit in on that meeting next year because I know this year is going to be an amazing one to be a part of.

At the end of the meeting I snuck out for a brief moment to change into my potato sack dress for a surprise entrance as Frank called me to the front of the meeting. It was such a blast to be wearing a potato sack dress in front of a group of potato lovers and enthusiasts.

Afterwards people stopped by my table for an autograph signing and to take pictures. An older gentleman came up to me and took my hand in between his hands as he smiled at me, “I think you are going to win Miss America,” he told me. Each time I hear that the same reaction happens. My heart skips a beat and then begins to melt into my chest, I find myself at a loss for words, and all I can do is smile. This time was no different as I put my hand over his hands and told him “Thank you, thank you so much. I really hope I do but even if not, it means so much to hear that.” And that’s the truth. I can’t even imagine what it would feel like to be Miss America, and I would so love to have that opportunity to be Miss America. But at the same time I realize only one of the 53 amazing women chosen to represent their areas in Miss America will be selected as the next lucky lady. So for me to hear that someone already thinks I could be Miss America, that’s part of America right there that I would be representing and they already have faith in me. That gives me all the confidence in the world. I wish I had caught that man’s name, but I will never forget his face and the way he made me feel. Just goes to prove one of my favorite quotes “People will forget what you say and what you do, but they will never forget the way you make them feel.” He made me feel like I already was Miss America that day.

Afterwards, I headed to the women’s luncheon, a tradition that had been going on for decades where the women would wear their finest attire and furs to it. I was able to talk a little about my year as Miss Idaho and the journey I went on to get to where I am today. I also talked with them about self-esteem, because no matter what age you are at, it is something that I believe is important to continue to discuss and grow from.

I then went trapshooting with some of the women from the Idaho Potato Commission where I realized there is a reason I don’t own a gun. I would be more of a threat to myself than anyone else with it! I made 2 out of the 25 shots I had and was quite pleased with those two even.

The next day I went to the best breakfast with my dad at Java and got Todd’s Competitive Edge Breakfast, my new favorite breakfast! Delicious vanilla yogurt, homemade granola, and fresh fruit. Perfect start before heading to ride the gondola to look over all of Ketchum, Idaho. It was absolutely breathtaking as we saw hang gliders drifting down from the top of the mountain.

We couldn’t stay long because then it was onto the Twin Falls Fair to put on the potato sack again! People were just as surprised as they were at the last fair at the fact that I was wearing a potato sack, for a dress. One man even talked about wanting to make a poster out of it similar to the one of Marilyn Monroe. Another woman wanted to know where she could get one just like it. Who would have thought my little potato sack dress would become such a popular one and quickly changed my title from Miss Idaho, to “Miss Potato”.

When I got back to Boise I started working on a video for Miss America’s birthday. 90 years ago, Miss America started in Atlantic City during Labor Day weekend as a swimsuit competition. Since then, it has added a platform to promote community service, added a talent portion, and is the number one provider of scholarship to women in the world. It’s amazing to see how far the organization has come and the impact the women involved have made on their communities.

I wanted to share a memory of mine about the first time I met Miss America because that was the moment that showed me what it takes to be Miss America and what the organization was about. I decided to try and film my video in Idaho’s Capitol. Going on a Sunday morning, I figured nobody would be out and about. I didn’t take into account it was Labor Day weekend and the day after the big Boise State Game against Georgia. Because of this we had many visitors admiring the beautiful marble interior and sculptures inside. We would have silence for 15 seconds and then even the drop of a pin would echo up the levels of marble in the building. One of the security men came by and let us into one of the rooms that had been closed off to the public. It was gorgeous! Here is the link to the video on youtube:

Goals for this week!

1. Put up a new blog in the next few days, have to have to! With so much going on lately, I have even more to say with less time to say it! But my goal will be to make the time to get it done this week!

2. Start working on my paperwork for Miss America, it seems to be never ending lately but feels so much better when it’s finally done!

3. Make my meals for the rest of the week so I have no excuse but to stick to my nutrition. No more chocolate covered pomegranates 😦 Time for delicious chicken, veggies, rice, apple sauce, egg whites, and oats. YUM! How long until I get tired of that? Sticking to it!

Until next time (which WILL be in the next few days.)

Much love and hugs!